I have been feeling very heavy this week, even before the shock and trauma of Zapiro’s latest cartoon.
In preparing to write my PhD proposal I have read what feels like an innumerable number of articles about sexual violence.
I have read about how womxn are submerged from a young age in a culture which makes them responsible for keeping themselves ‘safe’, while simultaneously positioning them as consumable, violateable, rapeable.
I have read about how womxn in a variety of social locations are coerced (not only by their sexual partners, but also by the dominant discourses of our society) to endure pain and discomfort rather than pleasure in their sexual encounters I have read about how many womxn have been raped, and how few of these feel able to speak out about their experiences for fear of further blame, shame and violence.
I have felt nauseous, close to tears, furious, empty.
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, frightened. On my way back from the bathroom I imagined that I was terrified and screaming, with all the force that my lungs would allow, but nobody came to save me.
Just as nobody came on the night I was raped.
It is not surprising to me that my terror and my panic returned to me so strongly last night.
In fact it is more surprising that it doesn’t return every night.
Because even on days when I do not spend eight hours reading about sexual violence, I still see it everywhere.
I see it in the way that others are objectified, dehumanized, and made into ‘symbols’ for political commentary.
And every time I see I am reminded of the darkest moments of my life, of being terrified, paralyzed, ripped apart. I am reminded of lying there, waiting for it to end and for everything to return to normal.
But how can it ever return to normal when normal is so violent?
Where violence is everywhere, seeping into the poles, the soul, the self
The violence makes me up and also breaks me apart
How to think outside it, against it
How to break free without breaking apart
How to not be preoccupied with whether or not I am “broken”
How to weep but not drown
How to be angry but not lash out
How to be empty but not paralysed
How to be myself?
In this heavy space
Submerged in violence
That seeps into the pores, the soul